6 Amazing Web Development Communities Every Web Developer Should Know

Martha Graham once said, “We learn by practice. Whether it means to learn dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same.” She might not necessarily have had coding in mind at the time, but what she said certainly applies. Whether you’re still figuring out the difference between a for loop and a while loop or you’ve made three apps in the past year, it’s always a good idea to be brushing up on your skills as frequently as possible. Though most coders spend most of their time behind a screen, there are plenty of awesome online communities where you can post questions, offer advice, and pick up nifty tips for how to hone your skills. Here are some of my favorite sites that will help you become a coding superstar.

  1. Code Wars

Every developer likes a good challenge, right? If you said yes, then Code Wars is the place to go. First, you pick your preferred language. At the moment, Code Wars offers CoffeeScript, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, Java, Clojure, Haskel, and C# (if your language isn’t offered, you can vote for it). Next, you’ll set your skill level; like many martial arts, Code Wars runs on a “kyu” level-system, in which 8th kyu is the lowest (white belt) and 1st kyu is the highest (blackbelt). You can start accepting challenges — whether it’s finding the bug in some lines of code, or trying to create a particular function — and when you pass, you get closer to attaining the next kyu. See if you’re up for the challenge!

  1. Hacker News

Check out Hacker News’s constantly updated message boards to find out the latest in the programming world. While Hacker news has plenty of forums about high-level coding conundrums, it also hosts discussions about the merits of the latest software and hardware, the ins and outs of new technological and scientific breakthroughs, and it even hosts a convenient listing of available jobs. Whether you’re an experienced hacker or a brand-new developer, make sure to bookmark this page — you’ll be coming back a lot!

  1. Toptal

Toptal is the go-to place for anyone looking for information about hiring software developers. If you’re a developer and think you’re up to the challenge of joining a super elite network, go ahead and apply to join their team. A warning, though: the screening process is quite rigrous – only 3% of applicants make it through. That said, Toptal offers something for coders of all levels because it has an extensive resources page and Engineering Blog with everything from interview questions and practice problems to articles about the latest innovations in web development. If you’re an employer looking to hire a web developer, check out Toptal’s hiring guides to see best practices when it comes to bringing on a freelancer. If you’re even thinking about dabbling in the world of freelance and remote work –either as a developer or as an employer- this is the site for you.  

  1. Web Design Ledger

This is a great resource for any aspiring designer, whether or not you’ve had years of experience. The Web Design Ledger posts constant articles about the best software for design, guides for particular platforms, and examples of great work. If you’re having trouble getting started on a project, head to their Inspiration section for some tips and motivation. They also feature plenty of interviews with experts, so you can see what the best in the field are saying.

  1. Code Academy

Code Academy is the best place to get hands-on experience learning a new language, period. They have about a dozen free courses covering everything from Python to JavaScript, and their fun, quirky, and fast-paced style will have you coding up a storm in no time. If you’ve covered the basics, you can join their membership, and get even more great options. If you’re not interested in paying, there are still plenty of awesome free resources worth checking out on the site.

  1. I Love Coding

I Love Coding is similar to Code Academy, but it has also dozens of helpful videos and lessons for aspiring coders. If you’re interested in signing up for their membership, it’s only $9 a month (or $90 a year), which is a pretty awesome deal. Even if you’re an advanced coder, there’s plenty to be gained by signing up. The website, though, is definitely geared more towards beginners, or advanced coders learning a new language.
There you have it. Six awesome resources every coder should be familiar with, regardless of their skill level. Do yourself a huge favor and check them all out, and become familiar with what each has to offer. Once you’ve done that, check out the rest of what the internet has to offer. There are dozens and dozens of coding communities out there, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to find what you need. If you have a particular bug that you can’t seem to shake, post your code to a message board; if you want to learn a new language and you can’t find it on Code Academy or I Love Coding, just google “learn _____” and you’re sure to find a site that can help, probably for free. Who says coders aren’t social?

Nate Ritter lives in Austin, Texas (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

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